Now, back to Texas A&M, where my conversion story left off.
Instead, I was attracted to a quaint little group on campus, whose primary method of outreach was to just set up a "book table" with a dozen or so books and booklets for sale. The people manning the table were kind-of nerdy and shy, but the books were very interesting, covering a wide variety of topics concerning Christianity and various issues. The group was the A&M chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, one of the oldest evangelical college student fellowships. The books were all published by InterVarsity Press, which soon became my preferred source for deep-thinking Christian books.
I started going to their weekly meetings, and met Christians from a variety of denominations, including Presbyterian, Bible Church, Baptist, Assemblies of God, Methodist, and Catholic. Like most Christian fellowship groups, they had a time of singing, but in addition to the simple chorus songs that were popular at that time, they also sang traditional hymns that had deep lyrics. They had a speaker at each meeting, often a guest, and the talks were usually challenging and smart. One of the guests was a woman who had been a missionary in China when the Communists took over, and continued to work there until she was forced out. The students seemed to all be serious students, and they saw their dedication to their studies as part of what was required as serious follows of Christ in college. I was also impressed that we had faculty sponsors who were Mathematics, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering professors. They each gave talks at some of the meetings.
A few days after the conference, Pete contacted me to talk about the conference. We met on campus and had a good talk, and then he asked me about how I felt about the Grace Bible Church situation. I told him my concerns, and he said that if I wanted to ever try another church, I might want to check out Westminster Presbyterian. Although I stayed at Grace for the rest of my Sophomore year, I would remember his recommendation and try Westminster out the next year.
The other important thing about InterVarsity was that I got to know strong Christians from many different traditions. They all clearly loved God, and we agreed on the core of the Christian faith, although we disagreed on many non-core issues. This was eye-opening for me because before then I had a pretty narrow idea of what it took to be a real Christian. I think this experience made it easier for me to begin to think critically about my own beliefs, knowing that Christians I admired thought differently about them.